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Reducing Your Risk of Complications Associated With Menopause

There are steps women can take to lower the risk of the health problems that are linked to estrogen loss, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Here are some ways women can lower the risk:

  Eat a Healthful Diet

A healthful diet can help a woman's sense of well-being. It may also lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and some cancers. It should be low in saturated fat and high in fruits, veggies, and grains. Getting enough calcium (1,200-1,500 mg per day) can also help lower the risk of osteoporosis. Some sources are low-fat calcium-rich dairy foods like, leafy green veggies, and calcium-fortified foods and juices. Vitamin D, found in sunlight and certain foods like fortified milk, liver, and tuna, will also help the body absorb calcium.

  Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

Cutting back on caffeine may ease symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Women should also limit alcohol to one drink a day.

  Quit Smoking

Giving up smoking can lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and many types of cancer, such as lung and cervical cancer. There are medicines and smoking cessation aids that can help a woman quit, such as nicotine patches and gums. Support groups and smoking cessation classes can also help. The programs that work best use a mix of behavior changes and medicines.

  Exercise

Regular exercise can help ease many symptoms. It helps improve sleep, creates feelings of wellbeing, and may ease hot flashes. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, and lifting weights help to strengthen bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis.

  Manage Stress

Relaxation techniques can help a woman cope with stress. Some ways to do this are meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback.

REFERENCES:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists (ACOG). Practice Bulletin No. 141: management of menopausal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jan;123(1):202-16, reaffirmed 2016, correction can be found in Obstet Gynecol 2016 Jan;127(1):166.

Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/menopause. Updated December 5, 2019. Accessed July 22, 2020.

Menopause. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/menopause. Accessed July 22, 2020.

Menopause 101: A primer for the perimenopausal. North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/menopause-101-a-primer-for-the-perimenopausal. Accessed July 22, 2020.

Menopause basics. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-basics/index.html. Updated March 18, 2019. Accessed July 23, 2020.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Elliot M. Levine, MD, FACOG  Last Updated: 7/24/2020